Co-sponsored by the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship and the Disability Studies Initiative, the Digital Publishing in the Humanities initiative presents “Cultural Accessibility: Digital Media, Disability Cultures, and Academic Responsibility.”
The rhetoric of digital media is usually one of increased access, opportunity, or transparency. However, digital media can not only open, but close off access. In this presentation, Dr. Elizabeth Ellcessor explores the ways in which digital technologies have both produced and prevented access to culture, information, and citizenship for people with disabilities. She illustrates how disabled people have innovated in the face of these barriers, and suggests that these workarounds and culturally specific media productions hold value for designing better media and technologies that attend to diverse access conditions rather than taking for granted normative bodies or practices. Finally, she turns a critical lens to the growing reliance on digital media in the management of the university, proposing that attention to access needs become one of our responsibilities as scholars and teachers.
Elizabeth Ellcessor is assistant professor in media studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Restricted Access: Media, Disability, and the Politics of Participation (NYU Press, 2016), and co-editor of Disability Media Studies (NYU Press, 2016). Her work focuses on media access, disability and embodied difference, and the public.